Shyam Mardikar, CTO of Airtel’s mobile networks has quit the company. According to market observers, Mardikar made this move keeping in mind growth avenues and the opportunity to drive new technologies and applications. He is likely to up the new assignment in a couple of weeks.
Winner of the Voice&Data CTO of the Year 2017 award, Mardikar is recognized as the person who drove Airtel’s spectrum strategy and the new network blueprint for transformation into a world-class 4G service aware network, that was closer to the customer. Airtel’s sustained leadership as a 4G service provider with India’s largest customer base and maximum reach is attributed to Mardikar.
At Airtel, Mardikar was managing a multi-domain, cross-region teams to run one of the largest mobile networks in the world, and was known for his obsession with network quality that ensured a seamless transformation at scales and size unheard of. Passionate about the introduction and nurturing of fresh and innovative new ideas he conceptualised the YTL (Young Technical Leaders) programme enabling talent acquisition straight from campus.
Mardikar started his telecom journey from C-DOT as a software research engineer and was responsible for designing digital exchanges. Moving to DOT in mid-nineties, he led multiple installations around the then-new digital switching systems, internet backbone and ISP networks. As CTO of one of the largest European MVNOs, spanning across multiple countries, he transformed the technology function to implement the new age processes and systems. Known to be a man who specializes in aligning technology with business, Mardikar had once said that “The new DNA of telecommunications is Devices, Network, Applications”
At a time when Airtel is under severe attack from Jio on the one hand, and will see more stiff pressure from the merged operator Voda-Idea, Mardikar’s absence will be badly felt at Airtel. And Abhay Savargaongar, Airtel Group CTO will have to quickly get a replacement with Mardikar’s passion, talent and vision.